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The Big E's Eclectic Musical Lineup

If you're mapping out your Big E attendance based on what musical acts are performing, think of the whole shebang as three big weekends and a few weekday residencies. Here's a handy guide to walk you through the process.

WEEKEND 1 (Sept. 15 to 17)

Friday night's choice is bong-rattling arena rock (Grand Funk Railroad, Xfinity Arena, 7:30 p.m., $29; you remember "We're An American Band," "Some Kind of Wonderful" and other FM staples) or swaggering retro-soul (Vintage Trouble, Court of Honor Stage, 8 p.m., free).

Saturday gives you a young, rugged Nashville star (Cole Swindell, Xfinity Arena, 7:30 p.m., $39-$49) and an eclectic journeyman singer-songwriter (Martin Sexton, Court of Honor Stage, 8 p.m., free). Sunday is for saints (Christian duo For King & Country, Xfinity Arena, 7:30 p.m., $29) and sinners (Village People, Court of Honor Stage, 8 p.m., free). Get your daytime Journey fix with former frontman Steve Augeri (Court of Honor Stage, Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m. free).

WEEKEND 2(Sept. 22 to 24)

You can do pop-country (Cam, of smash-hit "Burning House" fame, Xfinity Arena, 7:30 p.m., $29) or hip DJ sets (Cheat Codes, Court of Honor Stage, 8 p.m., free) on Friday night, but you can't do both.

Saturday is for '90s "Shrek" soundtrack alt-pop (Smash Mouth, Xfinity Arena, 7:30 p.m., $29) or old-school hip-hop (Sugar Hill Gang w/Grandmaster Melle Mel, Court of Honor Stage, 8 p.m., free). There's only one show on Sunday (percussionist Sheila E., Court of Honor Stage, 8 p.m., free), so that's easy.

WEEKEND 3(Sept. 29 to Oct. 1)

The third weekend gives you even more musical options.

There's "Sister Christian"-crooning hair-band Night Ranger (Xfinity Arena, 7:30 p.m., $29) and bagpipe-toting rockers the Red Hot Chili

Pipers (Court of Honor Stage, 8 p.m., free) on Friday; the cleverly named, multi-act, all-day TwinE Country Fest (Granger Smith featuring Earl Dibbles Jr., Parmalee, The Cadillac Three and Lindsay Ell, Xfinity Arena, 3 p.m., $29-$49) and "American Idol" winner Nick Fradiani (Court of Honor Stage, 8 p.m., free) on Saturday (with Chicago teen twins Carly and Martina opening); and Pink Floyd tribute The Machine (Court of Honor Stage, 8 p.m., free) on Sunday.

Faceless '90s rock trio Fastball (you remember "The Way") entertains daytime crowds on all three weekend days (Court of Honor Stage, 3 p.m., free).

WEEKDAY RESIDENCIES

Head to the Court of Honor Stage for two free shows (at 3 and 8 p.m.) per day.

Forever Motown, a tribute to '60s and '70s Hitsville favorites, holds court on Sept. 18 and 19, followed by '60s rockers Ten Years After (with a revamped lineup, of course; iconic guitarist/singer Alvin Lee died in 2013) on Sept. 25 and 26; and '60s hitmakers The Lovin' Spoonful (also revamped; no, John Sebastian won't be there) on Sept. 27 and 28.

Scattered throughout are half-hour performances by doo-wop humorists the Alley Cats (Sept. 15 and 19); the dancers and can-bangers of Street Beat Parkour Percussion (Sept. 20 to 26); and Arizona's Mariachi Azteca del Sol (Sept. 27 to Oct. 1).

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